Michael Paul Rogin’s scholarship profoundly altered the scope, content, and disposition of political theory. He reconstituted the field by opening it to an array of texts, performances, and methods previously considered beyond the purview of the discipline. His work addressed the relationship between dimensions of politics typically split apart – institutional power and cultural forms, material interests and symbolic meanings, class projects and identity politics, the public and the private. Rogin’s scholarship enlarges our sense of the borders and genres defining political theory as a field and enriches our capacity to think critically and creatively about the political.
The editors have focused on three categories of substantive innovation:
Demonology and Countersubversion
Rogin used the concepts “countersubversive tradition” and “political demonology” to theorize how constitutive exclusions and charged images of otherness generated imagined national community. He exposed not only the dynamics of suppressing and delegitimizing political opposition, but also how politics itself is devalued and displaced.
The Psychic Life of Liberal Society
Rogin addressed the essential contradiction in liberalism as both an ideology and a regime – how a polity professing equality, liberty, and pluralist toleration engages in genocide, slavery, and imperial war.
Political Mediation: Institutions and Culture
Rogin demonstrated how cultural forms – pervasive myths, literary and cinematic works – mediate political life, and how political institutions mediate cultural energies and aspirations.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Political Thought of Michael Rogin
Alyson Cole and George Shulman
PART I - Demonology and Countersubversion
Chapter 1 Preface [to Ronald Reagan, The Movie: And Other Episodes in Political Demonology] (1987)
Chapter 2 Political Repression in the United States (1987)
Chapter 3 American Political Demonology: A Retrospective (1987)
PART II - The Psychic Life of Liberal Society
Chapter 4 Liberal Society and the Indian Question (1971)
Chapter 5 "The Sword Became a Flashing Vision": D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1985)
Chapter 6 Two Declarations of American Independence (1996)
Chapter 7 Kiss Me Deadly: Communism, Motherhood, and Cold War Movies (1984)
Part III - Political Mediation: Institutions and Culture
Chapter 8 The King’s Two Bodies: Abraham Lincoln, Richard Nixon, and Presidential Self-Sacrifice (1979)
Chapter 9 Herman Melville: State, Civil Society and the American 1848 (1979)
Chapter 10 "Make My Day!": Spectacle as Amnesia in Imperial Politics (1990)
Chapter 11 Protest Politics and the Pluralist Vision (1967)
Chapter 12 In Defense of the New Left (1983)
Conclusion: Theorizing with Rogin Now
Alyson Cole and George Shulman
Alyson Cole is a professor of political science, women’s and gender studies, and American studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of The Cult of True Victimhood: From the War on Welfare to the War on Terror, and articles in journals such as Signs, Critical Horizons, and WSQ. Cole is co-editor of philoSOPHIA: A Journal of transContinental Feminism, and a principal scholar in the "Vulnerable & Dynamic Forms of Life" International Network of Research, an interdisciplinary research collective supported by funding from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris.
George Shulman is a professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University. He has authored two books: Radicalism and Reverence: Gerrard Winstanley and the English Revolution, and American Prophecy: Race and Redemption in American Political Culture, which won the 2010 David Eastman Prize for best book in political theory. He co-edited Radical Futures Past: Untimely Political Theory, and has published essays in journals such as Raritan, Political Theory, Contemporary Political Thought, and New Literary History. His current book project is entitled: Living Postmortem: Impasse and Genre in American Politics and Literature.